“At the level of the written word, English is one of the most complex languages in the world.Due to this complexity, most English speakers do not know the basic building blocks of the language; the sounds, their corresponding written expressions, and the spelling rules that go with them.”

“There are 26 letters in the alphabet, but they represent 44 sounds that can be spelled in 74 basic ways…learning these 74 phonograms and 30 spelling rules is the most efficient route to mastering English.”

“There are more than 2 million words in the English lexicon.The average adult speaker knows between 40,000 and 60,000 words…with a well-educated adult mastering up to 200,000 words.”

“Surely the most efficient way to master such a large lexicon is to learn the 104 tools which together describe how to read and spell each of these words.”

“Diane McGuinness, PhD, has shown that human memory is limited to approximately 2,000 individual symbols.Yet adult speakers of English need to master 40,000 to 200,000 words – an impossible task without the understanding of how to decipher the code.” “Many adults who are functionally illiterate know between

1,000 and 2,000 sight words.Though these students were successful at the task presented to them – memorizing individual words – they are unable to use this knowledge to meaningfully decode new words and thereby crippled from being able to read anything beyond the elementary level.”

Note:Quotations above are taken from Chapter 1, Uncovering the Logic of English, Eide, Denise; Pedia Learning, Inc., Minneapolis, MN, USA, 2012.

Because most of American schools require students to memorize words, rather than systematically teach them the complete sound/symbol knowledge of English spelling, we have had a decades long literacy crisis that has not significantly changed despite billions upon billions of dollars spent at local, state and federal levels to address this crisis.

The most recent statistics provided by the National Assessment of Education Progress indicate that 83% of African American, 78% of Hispanic and 57% of white 4th grade students have not been taught to read proficiently in our tax payer supported public schools.

This guide provides teachers and parents a reference to some of the excellent resource materials that can be used in the classroom, or at home to teach students to read proficiently.This list is not exhaustive, and CRE does not endorse or place these “instructional tools” in a priority order. They are listed alphabetically by the publisher’s name.

CRE strongly recommends that each resource be explored to determine which one will be the most effective for the age/grade/ability of the student(s).Websites are provided so that information about cost, content, and evidence of success can be ascertained. 

The Report of the National Reading Panel issued in 2000 identified the five components of reading instruction.They include:direct, systematic instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary development, fluency, and comprehension. 

Each of the resources listed in this guide include all of these essential components.Some of these resources are more comprehensive than others, also including grammar, syntax, morphemes, graphemes, and penmanship to name a few.However, each resource addresses the KEY element/components effectively – direct, intensive, systematic, early, comprehensive instruction in the English alphabetic code to the point of automaticity.

*Please note: “Professional development” is available, from many of the resource providers listed here.Some is available at no cost, and in other cases for a fee.

Criteria for evaluating K – 3 Structured Reading Programs

The National Right to Read Foundation endorses reading programs that are consistent with the findings of the 2016 Practice Guide of the What Works Clearinghouse and the Report of the National Reading Panel (NRP).

The NRP five components of reading instruction are listed below.

Phonemic Awareness

Helps children understand and recognize the relationship between the letters of written language and the sounds of spoken language.

Multisensory Phonics Instruction

This approach leads to an understanding of the alphabetic principle–the systematic and predictable, logical relationships between written letters and the spoken sounds they represent.


Once decoding words becomes automatic, the focus is on making connections between the ideas in a text, and between those ideas and the student’s background knowledge.Repeated and monitored oral reading improves reading fluency and overall reading achievement.

Vocabulary Development

Students should be able to decode, read, and comprehend any word in their spoken vocabulary, and read them aloud fluently and accurately without guessing.They should learn to use the dictionary, write the vocabulary words they know in sentences, paragraphs, and stories, spell the words they use accurately, and be able to read more complex content consistent with their age and grade level.


By the end of second grade or before, students should be able to comprehend in reading, what they can talk about and understand.Identifying story or text structure and the main idea, looking up unknown words in the dictionary, summarizing parts of the text, and classroom discussion are all parts of building good comprehension.


SUMMARY: The Language Tune-Up Kit (LTK®) curriculum includes the eight essential instructional elements needed to successfully teach students:

Multisensory: Instruction involves immediate, intensive, and continuous interaction between what the student is seeing, hearing, and feeling in the speech mechanisms and the writing hand. All the language elements taught are reinforced by having the student listen, speak, read and write. In LTK the student uses a mouse, microphone and keyboard to learn newly taught phonograms and to spell and write letters, words, and sounds from dictation.

Alphabetic/Phonetic: Sound-symbol associations along with linguistic rules and generalizations are introduced in a linguistically logical, understandable order. The essence of the phonetic approach is to make letter-to-sound correlations as simple and comprehensive as possible.

Synthetic/Analytic: The student is taught how to blend sounds together. When using LTK, the student hears the sounds pronounced while seeing the letters move together to make familiar words. LTK teaches the student how to segment words into separate speech sounds before beginning to spell. Drills which require placing the sound and filling in the blanks allows the student to apply the process to many words.

Structured: The student learns one sound association, linguistic rule, or non-phonetic word and practices using it with previously taught material before learning the next language concept. In LTK, each new piece of the language taught is specifically reviewed multiple times through drills and spelling practice. If confusions occur later in another context, additional review is provided. LTK divides the linguistic rules into separate lesson activities and provides practice and correction routines for each lesson activity.

Sequenced: Linguistic concepts are taught in a sequence which will minimize potentially confusing elements. The logic and order of LTK’s curriculum was determined by Orton-Gilligham experts who based their training in the Orton-Gillingham method. Their combined experience exceeds over 50 years in using this method to teach students of all ages and to train teachers.

Cumulative: The student should be asked to use each newly introduced element while reinforcing others that have been taught. LTK’s quizzes test all of the linguistic information previously taught. Student scores typically indicate 90 to 100 percent mastery within the quizzes. There are multiple review lessons interspersed throughout LTK to provide practice and reinforcement.

Repetitive: The concepts are repeated until the student gains mastery. The program provides 10 repetitions within each lesson activity and measures student mastery. If a mastery level of 80 percent is achieved, the student automatically

progresses to the next lesson activity. If not achieved, additional sets of repetitions are provided and achievement of 80 percent mastery is again determined. Cognitive: The student should understand the “linguistic logic” underlying word formations and patterns and be able to demonstrate that understanding while writing words. During the introductory and review portions of the lessons, LTK explains rules and generalizations both verbally and with on-screen demonstrations.